Cabinet approves two key energy bills

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Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station outside Cape Town. (Jay Caboz)
Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station outside Cape Town. (Jay Caboz)
  • The National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill updates the National Nuclear Regulator Act of 1999 and seeks to address the original legislation's gaps.
  • The Upstream Petroleum Development Bill paves the way for government to formalise requirements for participation in the petroleum resources market.
  • The National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill will serve to strengthen government's enforcement provisions.



Cabinet has approved two key energy bills, it announced on Thursday.

Its meeting on Wednesday approved the National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill and the Draft Upstream Petroleum Development Bill, Cabinet said in a statement. 

The National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill is an amendment to the National Nuclear Regulator Act of 1999 and seeks to address the original legislation's gaps. Cabinet approved its publication for a period of public comment.

The Upstream Petroleum Development Bill paves the way for government to formalise requirements for participation in the petroleum resources market including the issuing of rights and permits as well as transformation requirements in the sector.

During his oral replies to members of Parliament in the National Council of Provinces, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe fielded questions on the safety concerns at Koeberg nuclear power station and the state of transformation in the energy sector.

Mantashe spent much of his early years as minister working on filling vacancies at the board of the Nuclear Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) until the entity finally had a complete board in January 2020.

The Cabinet statement said the National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill will strengthen government's enforcement provisions for the inspectors and the occupational safety exposure risks for the aircrews.

"It also seeks to align with the International Atomic Energy Agency prescripts and its best practice. South Africa is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency," the Cabinet statement read.

The Cabinet statement said the Upstream Petroleum Development Bill would provide the legislative and regulatory framework to allow investment, growth and job creation in the upstream of petroleum resources market.

"It also provides clarity on, amongst others, the application system; permits and rights issuing; transferability of the rights, participation by black persons and participation of the state.

"The transitional requirements and the strategic stock requirements for petroleum rights holders to sell a percentage of petroleum at prevailing market price to the state Petroleum Company," the Cabinet statement said.

Mantashe told members of Parliament in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday that South Africa had to leverage all of its diverse energy sources to respond to its ongoing energy challenges and drive economic activity.

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